Governor Rauner Signs Pro-Abortion HB40

UPDATE: Governor Rauner has signed House Bill 40 in to public act on September 28th.   It is effective June 1st, 2018. In a press confe...

June 29, 2016

The unborn is not ‘living and breathing’?

The unborn is obviously living in a biological sense, exhibiting metabolism, cellular reproduction, reaction to stimuli, and rapid growth. Indeed, the unborn is not only living, but is a distinct, complete, self-integrating, self-developing organism, and a member of the human species. He or she (sex is determined from conception) is a living human being.

Perhaps the pro-choice advocate means “living” in a different sense — a social or moral one. On this view, perhaps, the unborn does not yet possess the qualities necessary for the kind of “life” that is deserving of moral respect and protection. But it seems misleading to use the term “living” in this way, since we commonly use that term in the biological sense to describe living plants, animals, insects, etc.

In any case, one must explain what “living” in this moral/social sense actually means, and offer reasons to think that it serves as a valid criterion for having the right not to be intentionally killed. It is far from obvious that we may discriminate between members of the species Homo sapiens on the basis of age/development and acquired characteristics, permitting the killing of some but not others.

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